Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman RIP

Well, what can I say about this that hasn't already been said? Paul Newman was one of those actors that became iconic in his lifetime and, to me at least, it never occurred to me he would die. There are few actors in the entire history of film with a body of work as impressive, but if he never made a film before or after Cool Hand Luke it would be enough to place him among the greats. Safe travels, Paul. As long as there are people on this planet you won't be forgotten.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Richard Wright RIP

Jeez, you try and take a break around here and cultural personalities start dropping like flies.

Richard Wright, keyboardist and founding member of Pink Floyd, died of an undisclosed form of cancer Sept. 15th.

While Pink Floyd is largely identified with Dark Side of the Moon and the bloated, self-indulgent concept albums to follow the fact of the matter is The Pink Floyd began their existence as a psychedelic outfit that, by 1967, were the biggest band operating on the famed London Underground scene. Along with guitarist/vocalist Syd Barrett (RIP 2006), considered one of the most innovative British guitarists of the time, Wright contributed to the creation of a sound, despite widespread attempts at imitation, literally and utterly unlike any other. Take a listen to Piper at the Gates of Dawn or any early Floyd singles and tell me there’s anything out there that stand up to their twisted pop genius. Barrett may have been the driving creative force, but the sounds created on those early recordings and, by all reports, their shows during this period would not have been possible without Richard Wright. It’s impossible to say what would have happened had Barrett’s musical career not succumbed to mental illness and drug abuse, but I can say with certainty it wouldn’t have been the narcissistic sledgehammer that was The Wall.

Anyway, pretty much any fan of contemporary rock ‘n’ roll, especially fans of bands like The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Richard Wright. Not to mention the bands themselves. The stuff he did before David Gilmoure replaced Syd Barrett in Pink Floyd is more than enough to make up for all the rest.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

David Foster Wallace RIP

This almost slipped by me in my self-imposed isolation.

David Foster Wallace, author of The Broom of the System and, most famously, Infinite Jest committed suicide on Sept. 12th at the age of 46. I'd be lying if I said I'd read Infinite Jest. I tried but gave up on the grounds that I couldn't make heads or tails of the damn thing. Still, Wallace is the first writer from my generation who achieved "literary" status to die. While his work held no resonance for me at the time I tried to read it, I'm not going to slam a guy who earned comparisons to Juan Luis Borges and Thomas Pynchon. That's a lot more than I've, and I expect you've, done.

I guess I'll give Wallace another try. Now that I'm older, wiser, and, most importantly I suspect, sober, Infinite Jest will make a whole lot more sense to me.

Monday, September 8, 2008


To my 5 or 6 loyal readers and those of you stopping by, I'm taking a brief break from this enjoyable if somewhat rigorous (for a lazy slob like myself) pop culture blog. While still high Summer here (which I have every expectation will last at least until Halloween) the Autumn doldrums have already knocked me on my ass, and the attendent brutal insomnia that attends it has brought me down with one of the nastiest late summer colds I've ever had (I say that every year). If the past is any indication it will last until March.

North vs. South was a success from my point of view. I got to see old friends from the road that I literally get to see once a year, saw some terrific bands I've known forever and shared stages with in the past and got to check out some really hot shit up and comers. If you're able to find anything by Monkeytown, get it. The name doesn't match the music (I exhorted them drunkenly to change their name after their set) and their music blew me off my barstool more than once. It could have been the booze, but I don't think so. They're one mighty motherfucker of a band from good old AusTex.

I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the three promoters afterward, so I'm not sure how they felt coming out of it, but I do know that next year is on. God bless Mike McCoy, Hunter Darby and Baby Grant Johnson for keeping the fire burning.

I'll be back atcha soon enough. The new psych meds will kick in, the weather will get nice, Jeff Smith over at Saustex Media will send me his latest release to review, someone will die, or I'll pick up something that's gotta be written up. The Cure's new one is currently set to drop Oct. 14th so you know I'll certainly be back in the saddle by then. In fact, I need to start flashing my fetching virtual smile at some people to get an advance of that bad boy.

Take care, y'all, and I'll be back to the rants before you know it.
Oh, and if you want your band reviewed, please send a copy of the CD and a ONE SHEET to 5508 Coventry Ln., Austin, TX 78723. If you don't know what a ONE SHEET is, please find out. I have neither the time nor inclination to sift through a 50 page press kit, nor do I have any patience for e-kits. I don't care if I'm living in the past. I also still type with two fingers. Take some comfort in the fact that I don't like slagging unknown bands (I save that for for those already on major indie or major labels) and if I don't like your stuff, I won' trash you here. I'll send you an honest email detailing why it didn't appeal to me and even return the promo at my own expense if you like. Believe it or not, I know quite a bit about this shit and my opinions are well informed. If that gives you any solace.

Take care of yourselves, say whatever passes as a prayer to you that I don't end up under "24 hour psychological obseration" over at the Seton Psych Ward, and keep an eye out. Like herpes, I'm gonna show up again.